California’s Prop. 30 Will Not Save the Forests

The television ads are impossible to ignore. A stern man in a firefighter’s uniform stands beside the wasted ashes of an immolated forest. As a harrowing montage of towering flames, skies filled with smoke, and CO2 belching cars on freeways slide across the screen, exuding masculine authority, he explains “we are in a crisis.” His message is compelling. To save our forests, clean our air, and address the climate emergency, we must vote yes on Proposition 30.

Despite the vociferous opposition of the California Teachers Association, and their reliable surrogate, Governor Gavin Newsom, Prop. 30 looks headed for victory in November. This is proof, once again, that you can convince California’s electorate to approve anything so long as you claim it will address the climate crisis.

Prop. 30 is clever. Its popularity relies on the understandable frustration Californians have over worsening wildfires, which most Californians have been convinced is caused by climate change. Its solution? Slap a 1.75% tax on all personal income over $2.0 million per year, and use the money to fund “Zero-Emissions Vehicles and Wildfire Prevention.”

The devil is in the details. Of the estimated up to $4.5 billion annual proceeds, 80 percent will subsidize ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle) charging stations and ZEV rebates, and 20 percent will pay for “wildfire response and prevention.” But of that 20 percent, 75 percent will go to wildfire response, and 25 percent will go to wildfire prevention. Which is to say that out of […] Read More

Are There Viable Alternatives to Reservoirs?

AUDIO: How dam removal efforts are gaining momentum in the Western United States and around the world, with a specific focus on four large dams on the Snake River in Washington that have been targeted – 16 minutes on KVI Seattle – Edward Ring on the John Carlson Show.

Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.

The Destruction of the American Middle Class

AUDIO: A discussion of how the convergence of an intellectual and financial elite, combined with the advent of technologies that can automate most jobs, are leading to the destruction of America’s middle class. Edward Ring with Kara McKinney on Tipping Point.

Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.

Why the Middle Class is Being Destroyed

Nearly 30 years ago, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray published “The Bell Curve,” which became notorious for its chapter that highlighted differences in IQ test results by race. But that controversy overshadowed the primary focus of the book, which was that the human race is dividing into a cognitive elite and everyone else.

In the book, the authors argue that for the first time in history, humans are far more likely to marry their intellectual equals. “As the century progressed,” they write, “the historical mix of intellectual abilities at all levels of American society thinned as intelligence rose to the top. The upper end of the cognitive ability distribution has been increasingly channeled into higher education, especially the top colleges and professional schools, thence into high-IQ occupations and senior managerial positions. The scattered brightest of the early twentieth century have congregated, forming a new class.”

Herrnstein and Murray went on to predict an alliance between the cognitive elite and the affluent, writing, “For most of the century, intellectuals and the affluent have been antagonists,” but that now, “the very bright have become much more uniformly affluent than they used to be while, at the same time, the universe of affluent people has become more densely populated by the very bright. Not surprisingly, the interests of affluence and the cognitive elite have begun to blend.”

Although parts of The Bell Curve have been hotly debated, these two predictions—the formation of a cognitive elite, and the alliance of the cognitive elite […] Read More

Dam Removal in the American West

The great cities of the American southwest would not exist if it weren’t for dams. Without the massive federal and state projects to build dams, pumping stations, and aqueducts (most of them completed 50 to 100 years ago), more than 60 million Americans would be living somewhere else. Without dams to capture and store millions of acre-feet of rainfall every year, and aqueducts to transport that water to thirsty metropolitan customers, the land these cities sit upon would be uninhabitable desert.

Such is the conundrum facing environmentalists that want to set these rivers free. Without dams, crops wither and people die of thirst. Without dams, devastating floods would tear through towns and cities every time there’s a big storm. Without hydroelectric power from dams, 18 percent of the in-state generated electricity Californians consume would be gone. You can’t just rip them all out. You would destroy a civilization.

But because of dams, fish habitat is lost, and aquatic species can become endangered or go extinct. Because of dams, precious sediment is prevented from running downstream to nurture estuaries and restore beaches. Because of dams, the natural cycle of rivers is disrupted: the cleansing pulse of spring that calls the migratory salmon to come back from the ocean, the dry trickles of summer when these anadromous species fight their way upstream to the cool and perennial headwaters to spawn, the next season’s rains that return newborn fingerlings to […] Read More

California’s Union’s Are Misdirecting Their Power

If you go to the “what we do” page of the California Labor Federation, the lead paragraph starts with this sentence: “The California Labor Federation is dedicated to promoting and defending the interests of working people and their families for the betterment of California’s communities.”

But they’re not.

What unions in California do has arguably helped their members, but the legislative agenda they support has not helped the vast majority of private sector working families. Laws passed by the California State Legislature, explicitly promoted by unions, usually cause more harm than good for the majority of California workers. Moreover, laws passed by the political coalition which these unions are part of, laws that these unions have often supported and rarely opposed, have devastated the economic opportunities for all but the wealthiest Californians.

The latest example of a bill promoted by California’s unions is AB 257, known as the “Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act.” It was signed by governor Newsom on September 5. This flawed legislation is going to form a “Fast Food Council” to regulate wages and work rules in fast food franchises. It will consist of the following members:

(1) One representative from the Dept. of Industrial Relations, a state agency, (2) two representatives of fast-food restaurant franchisors, (3) two representatives of fast-food restaurant franchisees, (4) two representatives of fast-food restaurant employees, (5) two representatives of advocates for fast-food restaurant employees, and (6) one representative from the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic […] Read More

Who Owns the California State Legislature?

There is only one answer to this question: Public sector unions. Anyone who argues otherwise is either misinformed or has a personal or professional motivation to delude themselves and others.

Before offering evidence of the financial power of public sector unions, consider the power these unions wield that is not explicitly financial. These unions operate the machinery of government, with everything that implies.

Public sector union members staff the countless local, regional and state bureaucracies that businesses depend on to obtain building permits and business permits. Among the functions of these bureaucracies is the power to enforce regulations, review mandatory reports from businesses, and conduct inspections. It only takes a few union zealots within these bureaucracies to decide to target any business that contributes to a politician or a cause that the union opposes.

The teachers union influences – many would say they control – what is taught in public schools. This means their political ideology and political agenda is marketed to children from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade and into public colleges and universities. Throughout their childhood and youth, California’s public school students are indoctrinated to support public sector unions and the political agenda they promote.

Make no mistake about the nature of the public sector union political agenda; it is inherently leftist. The bigger and more intrusive government becomes, the more unionized government workers are hired, and the more membership dues these unions collect.

The union influence is perennial. Politicians may oversee the administrative apparatus of […] Read More

California’s Unelected Tyrants

Zeroing in on “unelected tyrants” in a state as dysfunctional and regressive as California is not easy. There are too many targets. Even California’s elected state legislators, as they cook up and pass countless tyrannical intrusions into our lives and livelihoods, are themselves “elected” only so long as they pledge obeisance to a powerful coalition of special interests that have turned California into a one party state.

But once the state legislature has done what it’s been told, whatever glimmer of transparency that still attends to politics in the Capitol Dome is extinguished. Left to implement legislative edicts are unelected bureaucrats, themselves operating under the direction of appointed commissioners. These commissions wield immense power to affect the daily lives of Californians.

One recent example of this would be the 11-0 vote in May of this year by the California Coastal Commission to deny approval for a new desalination plant in Huntington Beach. Capable of producing 55,000 acre feet of fresh water per year and impervious to droughts, this badly needed plant would have been a twin to the successful desalination plant further south in Carlsbad, just north of San Diego. But despite spending over $100 million and over 20 years submitting permit applications, defending against litigation, investing in engineering plans, and continuously resubmitting to conform with endlessly mutating regulations, the applicant was stopped. Cold.

“Staff experts” at the Coastal Commission claimed this desalination plant would “devastate” marine life and produce “expensive water too costly for low-income consumers.” […] Read More

Green Globalism is the Ultimate Expression of White Supremacy

There has been broad recognition of late that the American Left projects their own flawed proclivities onto their political opponents. They accuse the Right of not caring about the American worker, but the functional consequence of every policy they devise has been destructive to American workers. They accuse the Right of being corporate puppets, when every major corporate special interest caters to the Left. They accuse the Right of having no respect for the Constitution or the rule of law, while they attempt to pack the Supreme Court, abolish the Electoral College, ignore the First and Second Amendments, and refuse to prosecute criminals. They accuse the Right of being fascist, yet their allies in Antifa and Black Lives Matter have cells operating in every major city.

Maybe the biggest projection of all is the common leftist accusation that the Right is dominated by white supremacists. The first thing to observe here is that the American Left – its leadership, its donors, and its corporate partners—“diversity, equity and inclusion” notwithstanding—is itself dominated by whites. And apart from their rhetoric, they certainly aren’t doing anything to help nonwhites. From welfare to affirmative action to avoidable cost-of-living increases, every policy the Left implements has the effect of disproportionately marginalizing and impoverishing nonwhites.

But are these white leaders on the Left supremacists? Yes, they are, because the American Left, and the globalist green agenda it is cramming down our throats, has only one logical ultimate goal: To conquer the world. It’s pretty hard to […] Read More

How the Teachers Union Can Save LA Unified

Earlier this year the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) released a report entitled “Burned Out, Priced Out – Solutions to the Educator Shortage Crisis.” Given the universally acknowledged challenges facing public K-12 education in California, this report merits serious attention.

The UTLA represents teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which with over 500,000 enrolled K-12 students is the 2nd largest school district in the United States. How severe is their teacher shortage?

According to statements made by Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho in August, there are 900 teacher vacancies. To put this in perspective, according to LAUSD’s “Fast Facts” for the 2022-23 school year, there are 502,850 K-12 students enrolled in LAUSD, and 23,553 K-12 teachers. This means the student/teacher ratio without hiring 900 more teachers is 21.3 students per teacher, and once those hires are made, that ratio will shrink to 20.5 students.

Without knowing where these vacancies are concentrated – not enough STEM or AP teachers? – this does not appear to be a crisis. In fact, according to Cal School News, LAUSD enrollment is projected to drop by nearly 30 percent over the next decade. LAUSD needs to be planning to reduce teacher headcount, not increase it.

So is there really a teacher shortage in LAUSD? The UTLA may have inadvertently admitted their credibility is not unassailable when in the first introductory sentence of their report, they claim “a bipartisan political campaign has been waged against professionalism and greater spending […] Read More